When was the last time you replaced your mattress?
Most reputable mattress companies will have a 10-year warranty, but what does that mean exactly? Does that mean the bed will only last 10 years? There is a common – but misguided – jingle that tells consumers to replace their mattress every eight years.
The truth is mattress companies have an incentive in getting you to replace your mattress before it’s time. So how do you know when it’s time to replace your mattress?
The truth is it will depend on several factors, including the type of mattress you own, how it’s performing, and more.
In this post, we’ll cover all you ever wanted to know about how long a mattress lasts, by listing 5 signs that it’s time to get a new bed.
1. You’re Sleeping in a Canyon
Most mattress warranties focus on sagging or dipping.
This is when your bed starts to sag with you in it – much more than is normal. If you get out of your bed in the morning and you can see a physical indentation stuck in your mattress, it’s time to get a new one.
Sagging that is that dramatic is more common with memory foam mattresses or cheap budget mattresses, but it can happen to any bed, no matter how expensive, no matter the material.
Mattress pro-tip: Make sure your mattress rests on a sturdy foundation or “box spring.” What your mattress rests on is important. If you buy a new mattress, but don’t replace your old mattress foundation, then you might be setting your new bed up for failure. Especially if your foundation is old and worn down. You don’t need to buy the foundation that your mattress manufacturer makes, but you do want a specific kind. Make sure whichever foundation or bed frame you choose works with the guidelines set out your in mattress warranty details.
2. You Wake Up in Pain
Even if you sleep through the night, waking up in pain is no good. It’s like how you fall asleep on a couch. Most people can fall asleep quickly on a couch because it’s comfy. But after a night sleeping on a couch, you don’t feel so good. There’s likely to be a pain in the neck or shoulders.
If you find yourself waking up with back, neck, or shoulder pain, it might be time to get a new mattress.
3. Your Bed is Too Small!
Sometimes you need to replace your bed even when it’s perfectly comfortable. This usually happens when you’re moving or upgrading in size.
If you’re currently in a twin or full-size mattress and want to upgrade to a queen or king-size mattress, then it’s time to get a new bed.
4. You’re Tossing and Turning and Can’t Sleep
If you feel pressure on your shoulder or hips, sometimes you’ll spend your entire night trying to get comfortable.
But try as you might, you can’t seem to sleep for more than a few hours at a time.
Tossing and turning is your body’s way of telling you that you’re not being supported properly. There’s too much pressure on your joints and your brain is telling your body to move.
Pro tip: Eliminate tossing and turning by matching your sleeping position to the right mattress. Generally speaking, side sleepers will like a medium comfort level to a soft comfort level. Back sleepers and stomach sleepers will like a firmer mattress, something like a medium-fir to firm feel.
5. You’re Waking Up Hot
Some beds (like memory foam mattresses) trap heat more than others. It’s possible that you had a mattress for a while and it didn’t make you sleep hot. But if you moved or the weather changed or if your body just changed to you getting older, then what used to be a nice cool mattress can turn into a heat trap.
The good news is that most new mattresses don’t really have sleeping hot concerns. The mattress industry has become so advanced that even the densest memory foam mattress is likely to be cool and breathable.
So, How Long Does a Mattress Last?
Of course, the answer isn’t as simple as we’d like. The truth is it depends. But if we’re talking about averages, the best mattresses on the market will last anywhere between 8 and 15 years
You can see in the graph that latex mattresses and memory foam mattresses last the longest, whereas futon beds, airbeds, and hybrid beds have the shortest lifespan.
Let’s break it down a little further.
Latex mattresses report the longest average lifespan. This makes sense as latex is a heavy-duty and eco-friendly material. Latex is very bouncy and tends to bend with the sleeper. Latex mattresses are also some of the most expensive mattresses on the market.
There are two types of latex: natural latex and synthetic latex. Natural latex is superior (more durable) but also more expensive.
Memory foam mattresses
We’re betting you’re surprised to see memory foam mattresses as the type of bed with the 2nd longest lifespan.
But quality memory foam mattresses are made to put up with a lot of wear and tear. The visco-elastic poly-foam that makes up memory foam conforms to your body and, when you get off it, bounces back to its original shape.
Innerspring mattresses are when beds start to give out sooner than they should. But the truth is most people don’t realize their innerspring mattress isn’t good anymore. Or they realize it, but don’t act on it. This is probably because inspiring mattresses already feel kind of lumpy and bouncy.
We won’t go deep into waterbeds, airbus, and futons but we wanted to take a moment to talk about hybrid mattresses.
Hybrid mattresses are some of the most comfortable beds on the market – so why the low lifespan?
Hybrid mattresses are so comfortable because they combine foam (usually memory foam) with innerspring coils. But this is what causes them to have such a short lifespan. See, the foam layer is laid upon the coils. This non-flat surface is full of tiny gaps and overtime the foam sinks into the gaps, causing the entire memory foam layer to slowly cafe.
Can a mattress last 20 years?
Yes, a mattress can last 20 years. While it isn’t common, a mattress can last two decades. If you’re on a mattress that’s comfortable and supportive and twenty years old, we recommend you keep it.
The only argument for getting rid of a twenty-year-old mattress (that’s still comfy and supportive) is whether or not the mattress is hygienic.
But if you kept the mattress cleaned (vacuumed it and covered it in a mattress protector) then there is no reason to get rid of a bed that helps you sleep at night.
How long should a memory foam mattress last?
A memory foam mattress generally has a lifespan between 8 and 12 years. This is assuming you’re not getting a cheap memory foam mattress that doesn’t come with a warranty.
If you’re sleeping on a high-quality memory foam mattress made with Certi-PUR® US Certified foam from American foam factories, then you can count on your bed lasting between 8 to 12 years (if not longer).
Is it true mattresses weigh double after 8 years?
There’s a common saying — usually repeated in mattress showrooms but also available online — that, after 8 years, your mattress will weigh double its original weight. The idea is that dust mites, bacteria, dirt, sweat will all seep into your mattress, causing it to weigh more and more. I’ve tried to look for the science or research that backs this claim up. And I’ve found nothing. I can’t even tell who started the claim originally, I can just tell you that it gets thrown around a lot.
It’s also pretty easy to debunk just by thinking about how modern mattresses are designed. Most mattresses today have at least a few inches of memory foam at the top layers. Memory foam is antimicrobial. It keeps out a lot of dust and allergens on its own. Plus, I think we’d know if we were sleeping on a mattress that weighed double its original weight because of our own filth.
Two things to keep in mind:
- Older mattresses did weigh more. Foam was denser years ago. So if you go home and lift your mattress after a trip to the showroom, yes your mattress at home will feel heavier. That’s because it’s likely using denser and heavier foam.
- Mattress protectors are important. Even if we can’t accurately say your mattresses will weigh double after 8 years, it’s still a good idea to use a mattress protector. It isn’t necessary (as some mattress sites try to make it sound) but the added protection does keep your mattress clean from stains, spills, and does also help keep out dust mites, allergens, and some can even protect against bed bugs.
Can I get a mattress topper instead of a new bed?
Mattress toppers are somewhat thick layers of foam — they can vary from 1 inch thick to 3 or 4 inches thick. They go right on top of the mattress and directly beneath your bed sheet.
The idea is a mattress topper can make your bed feel softer and more conforming. That makes sense because it’s adding foam. It’s less common to find a mattress topper that makes your bed feel firmer, but they do exist.
Its’ easy to see why customers are interested in getting a topper instead of buying a new bed. They are chaper and it’s also faster to buy a topper than go mattress shopping.
So, can you get a mattress topper instead of buying a new bed?
Yes and no.
If your main beef with your mattress is that it feels too firm, then a soft mattress topper may be an affordable and quick solution. But keep in mind that mattress toppers don’t always use the most high-quality foam. If you’re buying a mattress topper for a queen-size mattress, expect to spend around $150 or more. Anything less, then the chances are you’re getting cheap foam that will quickly break down.
If your mattress is sagging or otherwise defective, then a mattress topper won’t help. If you put a mattress topper over a sagging bed, your mattress topper will start to sag in a few months. That’s because your mattress topper, like your mattress, needs a supportive flat surface.